Recently returned from Brazil aka Brasil, it's time to get back on track. Dear diary, I've been meaning to write in you I just haven't had the proper motivation or, in some instances, internet connection.
As my first trip out of the country (unless you count Canada, but that is contiguous with the US), Brasil was a big deal for me. Seeing how I did and do not speak Portuguese and I traveled in the northeastern part of the country (where far fewer people speak English than in the South), it's pretty amazing what you can get by on. It also helps that our host had a host of connections by which we were able to travel safely and comfortably. The two things (well one, but with two meanings) people told me when I told them I was going to Brasil were: a) be careful, as it is rather dangerous in Brasil, with muggings, murders, and kidnappings; and b) be careful, as the women in Brasil are often very beautiful, sexually free, and like gringos.
I admit, I'm tempted to write a bit of a travel log, but as I already have a 34+ page paper one, I don't think I'm really going to do the country justice. Still, I will drop a few highlights: a) the exchange rate; b) the women; c) the booze; d) the food; and e) the partying.
Each American dollar will get you two Brasilian reals. This is good.
The women are frequently gorgeous but just like America, there are plenty of creatures. The women, though, are, in general, much friendlier than women here.
Booze is cheap cheap cheap in Brasil, and I liked this. Normally not a fan of pilsners, that's all they really drink in warm Brasil. But they serve it colder than cold and it is crisp, refreshing, and delicious. I have a soft-spot now for Skol. The other thing frequently consumed in Brasil is cachaca which, to me tastes like a combination of whiskey and tequila. Not really my thing, but I slowly grew accustomed, and it was astonishingly cheap at ~$1.75/liter bottle converted. This is often the main constituent to a caipirinha, accompanied by lime and cane sugar for some equivalency to a margherita. Apparently these have been trendy in places like NYC for some time, but I am not trendy, so I did not know.
You can get meat on a stick all over the place, macaxeira (yuca), salty queso, churros [that don't suck and are cooked fresh and are infused with dolce de leite or leite condescendo...shitdamn those are good], etc. I'm trying to keep this short, you know? Their ketchup sucks. Someone should import American ketchup. Maybe they wouldn't like it there, but man, I would.
This country can truly party. Lots of people have heard of Carnivale and how it stretches two-plus months, but even during all of July there is another festival held pretty much all day every day where people perform the traditional forró. With cheap booze, friendly people, and periodically ridiculously attractive women, you can see why you might be encouraged to party here.
Anyway, I don't think I remotely did this country justice but, bottom line: you should take a trip there if you have the chance. And a happy belated Independence Day to everyone...I know my liver might still be recovering.